Industrial roofing systems are characterised by 3 principle components which are reinforcement, surfacing, and weatherproofing layer. The reinforcement helps in adding strength, dimensional stability, and puncture resistance to the roofing membrane while the weatherproofing component helps in keeping water from dripping in through the roof assembly. Lastly, surfacing protects weatherproofing and reinforcement from the vagaries of weather and sunlight.
In order to choose the right industrial roofing system for your new build, you must have adequate knowledge of the different options out there. The following are the most common industrial roofing systems used by contractors across the UK and even beyond the borders.
The Built-Up Roofing System
This is one of the earliest roofing systems and it picks its name from the act of building a roof using base sheet layers, cap sheet, and interplay sheets on site. The material used as the waterproofing and bonding agent between the layers is hot asphalt also known as bitumen. The built-up roofing is appropriate for low slope roofing applications.
If the industrial roofing company you have hired is doing this roofing system, it is important to look at the quality of the materials used because the greater the number of plies and asphalt mopping, the superior the resulting roofing system.
Atactic Polypropylene (APP) and Styrene-Butadiene-Styrene (SBS) Modified Bitumen
APP and SBS are asphalt modifiers that came as a result of advances in technology in the 1970s. these modifiers were added to unoxidised asphalt to give it rubber or plastic characteristics. APP and SBS provide traditional asphalt with enhanced performance characteristics.
The additives can also be reinforced with polyester or fiberglass to create extremely high performing roof membranes. The beauty with APP modified bitumen is that it is self-adhering when it is heated with a roofing torch.
On the other hand, SBS modified bitumen is usually applied using cold adhesive or hot asphalt. This results into a built-up roofing system which is significantly enhanced and has amazing performance capabilities. Thanks to improvements in technology, we now have self-adhering SBS roof membranes.
Some building companies combine an SBS or APP cap sheet with traditional BUR base sheets giving rise to a hybrid roof that offers the best of both worlds: longevity, superior performance, and multiple plies.
This type of roofing system has a number of variants. The ones that are commonly used for industrial buildings include screw down metal roof and standing seam metal roof. The standing seam variant is quite expensive, but is considered a better option because it has no penetrations in the roof which may potentially cause problems in future. Screw down metal roofs are quite common, but the major problem with them is that the rubber bushings which hold the metal roof down can go bad over time and even become points through which water drips in.
Metal roofs are available in different colours and can be cut to the precise dimensions of your roofs. This means if you are looking for an economical industrial roofing system, metal roofs can serve you well.
All the industrial roofing systems discussed above are excellent choices for institutional, residential, and low slope new build commercial roofing.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Low Slope Roof
Having seen the different types of materials above that can be used on different roof types, it will help if you knew the factors to bear in mind when choosing or specifying a low slope roof.
The first consideration is to choose the highest possible quality of materials. You can get this from an established manufacturer who has experience dealing with roofing materials. Also, you need to compare the different roofing products by examining the technical data such as the thickness, weight, and ASTM test results.
Beware of low cost roofing systems and the purported savings they bring because those savings can be offset by a long-lasting roof which you may not have to reroof any time sooner. Try as much as you can to avoid roofing system that have proven poor performance because in no time, they will start leaking or even fail prematurely.
The last, but certainly not least factor to take into consideration is the installation of the roofing systems. You may be having an excellent roofing system, but due to poor installation, you suffer from sub-optimised performance. This is why it helps to get in touch and work with an established industrial roofing company.